My Brand New Jamstik Studio MIDI Guitar!

Started by Rhcole, July 10, 2020, 02:30:59 PM

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About 2 1/2 years ago, I took a chance on Jamstick's supposed "professional" level MIDI guitar via a Kickstarter fund raise. Many, many times I gave up and assumed that I had lost my investment.

But look-

Arrived day before yesterday. Haven't had time to really dig in to it, but it has its own approach to a Fishman Triple-Play MIDI guitar type of solution.

I'll start by giving them kudos for really having put in the effort to design the product well. You can tell that they sweated over the details.

Also, I can play MIDI guitar straight into my iPad via Bluetooth with really low latency. Very good.

Will keep learning more.


Looks cool!

Please let us know what you think after you have had some time to really see what it can do.


If it never goes higher than 15ms - on all strings, even open tunings - it's better than the FTP.  It would be interesting to know if it really measures in that range.
Address the process rather than the outcome.  Then, the outcome becomes more likely.   - Fripp


I'm intrigued, too, just dying to know how it performs for you. It looks fabulous.


Same Model I played at 2020 Winter NAMM

Hopefully you can get pitch bend to track correctly  ( was NOT working at NAMM )



Quote from: Smash on July 10, 2020, 09:16:34 PM
Conductive frets?
No  - its very similar to an internal Fishman Tripleplay - but ( in my tests at NAMM) Jamstik Studio  exhibited higher latency vs Tripleplay
( They were feeding a Win 10 laptop running a few SoftSynths - Id expect a Mac to have lower latency ( due to macOS CORE Audio advantage over ASIO Audio on Windows) 
But that was with 6 month old Firmware ;)

More about it here

But I look forward to your review of the  Jamstik Studio production model


Turned off pitch bend for now to ensure the best tracking.  Downloaded firmware update.

Played patches with short, hard attacks- pianos, clavs, etc. Really good, maybe best I've ever played, and I have used them all.
This is no toy, this is a real instrument.

Nice velocity sensitivity, from a whisper to loud. Great potential for expression.

Very wide fretboard, will take some getting used to. 
Plays like a decent budget guitar, small body is a plus for me. Holds tuning well.

They include a long USB cable for PC/Mac that they say will deliver even better performance.  And I like the BT iOS already! Turn it on and go, man!

They have big plans on the software side. I haven't looked into that at all. But they include synths optimized for the guitar.

So far really good. And this just fell out of the sky, wasn't expecting it!


So how does the experience compare to Fishman connect using Fishman app?

I'm wondering who the target market is here. I wouldn't trust BT for live which leaves you with USB cable as per Connect.

At 800USD it feels to me like for much less outlay you could put together a more flexible core guitar combined with a Connect.

TBH recently I've been trying to work with MG2 short comings for much easier life...


For 5 pin MIDI they include an adapter that plugs straight into the 1/8" jack. It is not an audio jack, data only. So, you can have wired MIDI which I expect will be obviously superior to BT.

I am a big, big MG2 fan but this has instantly replaced it for me. It is just too easy to use on an iPad and so far works very well.
Neve been a fan of 2 cables out of the guitar, but the idea of plugging straight into a Moog is an unfulfilled dream. And with velocity and bends...

Will get around to testing pitch bends after I have finished basic tracking tests.

No rush, I'm enjoying this!

A couple of years ago, I considered a $4k investment in a high-end MIDI guitar.
This little piece of firewood has got my attention instead, for sure.


OK, first true bump in the road. Its tracking is excellent until you turn pitch bends on. In poly mode with PBs, it plays the bends correctly but becomes much more glitchy. I can test sending out multiple channels to see if that cleans it up, but that isn't particularly useful to me personally, so it may wait.

With PBs off, it tracks very, very well. Latency over BT seems in the ballpark of the FTP, with a general comparable playing experience. If you own an FTP, no reason to swap out yet.

I still expect it to be faster and cleaner through a MIDI cable (which they say), but darn it, can't find one... haven't used wired MIDI in a few years.

Their proprietary software isn't up yet. Guess that's why I am a Kickstarter supporter, I get this stuff first. So, right now it is just a MIDI controller.

Love it in the iPad, BT is rock-solid and it plays well.

Conclusions thus far: 1. If I was starting from scratch and was deciding between this and FTP on a new and relatively inexpensive guitar, as long as I didn't mind this guitar, the Jamstik is what I would buy. Simple and clean, and they are pumping out firmware revisions to fix problems. The pitch bend issue is real, but non- critical for me for synths behind guitars and this is the best velocity sensing I have ever experienced.

2. They claim fastest speeds and best tracking over a cable, but I can't confirm yet as their software isn't ready and I haven't hooked up through cabled MIDI.

They intend to be a serious contender in our arena, and they have accomplished that much.



Reduced sensitivity and poly pitch bends cleaned up considerably. Usable now!

You might hit  the occasional sour note though,  so learn to make serious "guitar face" when that happens to convince your bandmates that you are just being artsy.

More on the guitar itself. I like it better every time i play it.  It lacks any feel of cheapness and has solid switches and connectors. Compred to say, the Godin Freeway, this feels like  the better instrument. The pickups are pretty generic HBs with good high freqs to work with and medium outputs. Coil tap adds nice tonal versatility.


Wow many thanks for the first review, I'll go with this one myself!!

You mention it tracks pianos and clavs well which makes me really happy and I too was looking at the ROR and Industrial Radio but will now settle with the Jamstik. :)

If you don't already have it, which you probably do, make sure to get this:

For SWAM violins flutes brass and other physical modeling and sample-based violins and the like... :D


Looking at how the guitar is laid out, I think it would be super-easy to add a 13 pin connector using their pickup internally. Somebody with better tech skills than me would need to determine if it would work with Roland gear or interfere with its present functioning.

What an instrument that would be, though!


Quote from: Rhcole on July 14, 2020, 09:18:08 AM
Looking at how the guitar is laid out, I think it would be super-easy to add a 13 pin connector using their pickup internally. Somebody with better tech skills than me would need to determine if it would work with Roland gear or interfere with its present functioning.

What an instrument that would be, though!

Very nice! I might just go with the external gk3 on it but an internal would be awesome.

Besides getting the breath controller I already had plans to add the Effigy Control Pedal  for my midi guitar for pitchbends:

So pitchbends being a little glitchy doesn't really bother me:


A midi guitar without pitch information seems a big backward step to me.



Don`t know what you are referencing, of course it provides MIDI data. Right now it`s just like any other controller, with my comment that pitch bends may be iffy depending on setup and playing style.


Quote from:  Bluesbird on July 16, 2020, 02:43:09 PM
I'm still not seeing any objective data on the pitch to midi conversion time.  How about you record the normal guitar output on one track and the resultant midi note on another track.  Subtract the midi note time from the normal guitar time and add the input latency (a rough approximation provided by your daw). Let's do it for the high e and the Low E.  Yes?  I have a suspicion that Fishman may have provided some technology for this device.  If we have identical conversion times to the Fishman, then we may be closer to an answer.  They report an average of 10 ms.  This is the result that was only possible with Axon/Tripleplay algorithms (11ms reported by Wayne Joness using the Yamaha G50).  So Roland hasn't been able to improve but a flash-in-the-pan company now has the same PTM speed?  I call bulls&*t. Nobody else here is curious about this--jeez, we have 40 years of piss poor pitch to midi performance and nobody is curious as to how Jamstik was able to match Fishman?  What the ....?
^ Agreed!

I Already gave my review 6 months ago when I played it

I suspect JamStik is  averaging all 6 strings to post the 15ms latency figure - typical for a "G String alone on most Guitar to MIDI System in 2020

the low E & A never delivered that low latency on the  JAMSTICk PRO Guitar I played at 2020 Winter NAMM .

QuoteHowever, I found the JamStick Studio guitar on demonstration had sluggish latency,  - felt like my Casio MG-510
and was not set for individual String Bending while playing chords or two note partials ( country bends, or Stones Honky Tonk Woman ) driving a Windows 10 laptop running NI Komplete.

To accommodate individual String bending , it seems at the Jamstick booth they were foggy as to why anyone would want  MIDI MONO Mode, and separate MIDI Channels per string ( hint: its required to support individual string bending in different directions at same time ( listen to Jerry Donahue on a Hellicasters record for examples

I specifically told the CEO this, he said they had spent years developing this new latest version to meet professional performance  - I think they need to get a $1000 budget for a few used MIDI guitars in their R&D  and read and study those used instrument owners manuals to get a better understanding of MIDI Guitar

In fact last January I had just played the SY-1000 Guitar to MIDI feeding MIDIPlus MINI Engine Plus  mini Synth for a review, 2 weeks before NAMM

Quote(With SY-1000 Guitar to MIDI ) I found acceptable Guitar to MIDI performance. Still must be careful and precise with your playing technique to avoid mis triggers, but I could accomplish solid consistent performance.

I A/B tested SY-1000 Guitar to MIDI Performance vs GR-55 Guitar to MIDI  feeding MIDIPlus MINI Engine Plus Performance, I observed both exhibit similar latency, but the GR-55 was more prone to sporadic random notes, while the SY-1000 I felt delivered a more consistent performance with fewer mis-triggers       

The Fishman Tripleplay delivers lower latency on the low E, A, D strings.

(RHCole gave a Review of similar Tripleplay Driving MIDITECH PianoBox back in 2016 )

With any luck he still owns a Tripleplay and can provide a:
"Summer 2020 Jamstik Pro vs Tripleplay A/B Comparison


Quote from:  Bluesbird on July 16, 2020, 03:28:28 PM
The aren't posting a 15 ms. latency--they (Jamstik) are posting an average 10 ms. latency.  Here is my take:  either Jamstik is exaggerating, or Fishman is providing the technology because of poor sales of the Fishman Connect. Fishman has the technology for Bluetooth transmission as well as wired.  I just don't see how Jamtik could do the same PTM speed without the help of Fishman.  There is no way.  I bet the proprietary statement has to do with the fact that they are doing Bluetooth and wired at the same time.  Fishman--Come clean on this!

AFAIK - JamStik was claiming all tech was their own

( give me a Jamstik Studio and a screwdriver and I'll find out swiftly  ;)

Maybe Jamtick's "10ms latency"*  was tested under water and not air?

and nobody is getting Guitar to MIDI under 10ms using Bluetooth!


Quote from:  Bluesbird on July 16, 2020, 03:38:18 PM
Yes, I bet if Rhcole opens it up, he will find Tripleplay tech in there.

Here is the way I see it:  Jamstik used Tripleplay technology but as to not hurt the sales of the Connect, they backed off on stating the use of the Tripleplay pickup.  The early proprietary statements were revised to say "unique onboard processing" to reflect that they do Bluetooth and wired at the same time (something that as of yet Fishman does not provide), but the algorithms are all Fishman.  Either this is true or Jamstik is full of beans.  Just give us the numbers and we will know. I give it about two weeks before Fishman finally admits it or refutes Jamstik claims. But if they both have NDAs, we may never know. 

BTW, That roll out of the Fishman Connect was an abomination.  I have no marketing or business experience and I could have created more of a buzz for the product than Fishman.

I'm pursuing the FTP> ELK OS


I'll be honest with you. I was anticipating the JS with some scorn because a) the TP already occupies the same space, b) This is a totally different product than the one specified in the kickstarter campaign and c) it was about 2 years late to get delivered. Not confidence boosters.

So, this isn't a product I had any particular emotional attachment to nor did I feel any draw to be its "champion" on this site.

But, it is earning its way into its setup by working well. I like the small guitar body because as an older player, ergonomics are now tricky for me. It works so nicely in my iPad. Admin is right, I had the FTP, but I got rid of it a few years ago. In fact I got rid of MIDI cables and have a couple of synths that I just haven't done anything with for some time. I have been an advocate for MG2 on iPad and love the SY-1000.

Jamstik is behind on getting their online tools up. That is where you are supposed to see their lowest latency. I thought I might have even one MIDI cable somewhere that I had overlooked, but haven't found it yet to try a wired direct MIDI setup.

I am simply really liking it. As a 1/4" guitar it sounds good through the SY-1000, and I can run the iPad into the return jack, which obliterates the onboard SY synths. I have never had a guitar synth that could track piano type sounds in a usable manner for me. This one does a good job through BT. And I truly love how well velocity tracking is integrated.

Now, if I were an outsider, would I spring for the $800 pre-release price or the $1,000 price when fully developed?
Heck, I just might.

Surprise, surprise.



Methinks some take this more seriously than I do...
No, haven't kept up with anything FTP since I sold mine a few years ago. Could have wings and do Elvis impersonations by now for all I know.

Hurt my leg on Friday and yesterday played through my iPad while propped up in bed. At a bad angle and my normally iffy playing was even worse.
Damn thing still tracked me almost flawlessly. What a blast!

I think I've said all I have to say for now though, time for a new thread!


Bluebird you may have a point about Fishman - if you were them would license to someone who was going to put out a bolt on system which would be direct competitor, or would you only license to someone incorporating as a complete guitar in a market you have no interest in? I'd be willing to bet we won't see them release this as an aftermarket bolt on for that reason... Just my thoughts.


See below:

"Hey Robert,

Thanks for checking in. We see your contribution #740 so thanks for your support and patience. It's been quite the project for sure, but one we all wanted to be very proud of and we are. We appreciate your message and glad your initial observation is quite positive.  We think it might be enhanced once we release the VST later this week, as we think it will definitely add to your opinion.  Our CEO, Ed Cannon, is actually a good friend of Larry Fishman, as they met up over 10 years ago and really hit it off. Ed has the highest respect for Larry as a real craftsman and inventor. Ed comes from a long history of innovation in electric utility automation, so this was quite a 180, but with the team assembled here, we all like our chances. 

Thanks again as comments like yours definitely get shared with our team. Hoping we stay on your radar as we've got a lot of plans going forward. Stay tuned!

jamstik Team"


Bluesbird: did those Fender and Godin guitars have a MIDI output jack on the guitar?

Rhcole: does the guitar you pictured have a MIDI output jack on it? Can't tell from the photos.

The only report about MIDI tracking that's convincing is a recording, raw guitar on one side and triggered synth on the other. That's real numbers *and* we get to hear what was played. It's evident to me that no amount of words or talk means anything compared to actual data, and that seems the best source, as far as I can tell.